Pressure on health-care system continues
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This article was published 04/05/2022 (392 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Throughout the pandemic, Manitobans have been fortunate to have so many dedicated health professionals willing to toil day in and day out in extremely challenging circumstances. Even as public health restrictions are relaxed, the pressure on our health system continues.
Whether it is dealing with new COVID cases, or the immense challenge involved in addressing the backlog of care and service that has built up over the course of the pandemic, our health services continue to be under strain.
This is a problem that has to be tackled at many different levels. In Ottawa, New Democrats are winning some victories when it comes to preventative health. We have succeeded in negotiating a new, national dental care program that will provide basic dental service to any Canadian with a household income of $90,000 or less. We have also negotiated next steps toward a national pharmacare plan that will lower the cost of prescription drugs.
These are solutions that will help keep Canadians healthier and reduce costs, but they will take time to work.
New Democrats are also advocating for increases in federal funding to the provinces right away, so that they can shore up our health services quickly.
In order for that to work, we need provincial governments prepared to do the hard work of fixing healthcare. It is not an easy job, but Premier Stefanson and her government have been letting Manitobans down.
While pleading poverty to the federal government, they are cutting taxes at home. Rather than investing in a stronger health workforce, they are paying a premium to cover the profits of private nursing companies. They say they have a plan to address the surgery backlog but won’t say when they will release any details of the plan.
They are behaving as if the pandemic is over, but they are not restoring health services they suspended — temporarily, they promised — at the height of the pandemic.
One such service is the Community IV program that was offered at ACCESS Transcona. The Manitoba government promised to put it back in place once the pandemic was over. Now they are telling us it is over but they have not restored the service. This is unacceptable.
That is why I was pleased to join with MLAs Nello Altomare (Transcona) and Matt Wiebe (Concordia) recently, calling on Manitoba’s health minister to reopen this important service. One might ask the MLA for Radisson, James Teitsma, how he justifies his government’s curtailing of health services in North East Winnipeg.
New Democrats will not rest waiting for his answer. People can count on us to fight for better health care in Parliament and here at home.
Elmwood-Transcona constituency report
Daniel Blaikie is the NDP MP for Elmwood-Transcona.